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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

29 issues to do in north Cornwall with youngsters

One of many issues I like a couple of household vacation in Cornwall is that there’s a lot selection packed into one county – discovering the wild coast of north Cornwall with youngsters, venturing all the way down to fairly St Ives, a keep on the gentler south coast and the prospect to discover the countryside too.

Families on the beach at Mawgan Porth in north Cornwall - and more of the best things to do in north Cornwall with kids

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But when I’m compelled to determine, it’s the north coast which is my favorite: that is the place I used to vacation as a toddler, it’s the place my daughter had her personal first Cornish vacation in Newquay, and you’ll find free days out in addition to issues to do in north Cornwall within the rain. Properly, that is the UK in spite of everything.

So I’ve rounded up a few of my very own highlights – together with the northern a part of the county and the north Cornwall coast – with this listing of one of the best issues to do in north Cornwall with youngsters.

Take a look at my full information to Cornwall with youngsters, in addition to my downloadable e book model of the information

Strictly talking, my ideas enterprise past the official boundaries of north Cornwall: Newquay and Crantock usually are not technically north Cornwall however are on the north Cornish coast, for instance.

I simply couldn’t miss out the Eden Mission both. It’s a lot nearer to the south coast of Cornwall, however nonetheless solely 20 to half-hour from Bodmin and Padstow really easy to suit right into a household vacation in north Cornwall.

The concepts under are organized in roughly geographical order if you wish to work out which locations to go to in north Cornwall close to the place you’re staying.

So whether or not you’re a purist relating to boundaries or are simply searching for some nice north Cornwall points of interest for households, there must be loads right here to encourage – from north Cornwall household days out to child-friendly points of interest, north Cornwall locations to go to and wet-weather actions. Oh, and seashores in fact!

Brightly coloured beach huts on the beach at Bude - checking out the different coves is one of my top things to do in north Cornwall with kids

Finest seashores in north Cornwall

It doesn’t matter which little bit of Cornwall you go to, there are some fabulous seashores to be discovered – and so many little secret coves to find as effectively.

I all the time love getting ideas from locals on one of the best ones – one in every of my favorite journey hacks is staying with a neighborhood specialist firm which might kind you out with someplace pretty to remain in addition to sharing secrets and techniques of the place to go.

For 2 of one of the best seashores in north Cornwall, don’t miss out on a few seashores in Bude, together with Summerleaze seaside with a sea pool, and Crooklets seaside which has some nice rock swimming pools. Each have restrictions from Might to September if you happen to’re searching for dog-friendly seashores in Bude although.

Additional down the coast, Widemouth Bay has a protracted open stretch of sand and its personal rockpools at low tide, and the southern finish is dog-friendly year-round.

The sand dunes of Crantock Beach on the coast at Newquay in north Cornwall

Treyarnon Bay between Newquay and Padstow can be nice for rockpooling, and canine are allowed year-round right here too, whereas Crantock Seashore close to Newquay is a agency household favorite in addition to a dog-friendly choice too.

Together with large sand dunes and caves to discover, there are simple rock swimming pools for youthful youngsters, some constant surf, plus a kiosk promoting ice cream.

Scroll down for concepts of some extra of north Cornwall’s finest seashores round Padstow and Newquay, in addition to Bedruthan Steps.

Bude Sea Pool

If you happen to’re not a fan of swimming within the sea, the ocean pool at Summerleaze Seashore is incredible for households, with some shallow water – plus Bude Sea Pool can be free!

It’s open year-round, though most households will wish to stick with the summer season months when the water temperature reaches round 18C, and also you’re beneficial to swim at low tide.

Do keep in mind there are restricted amenities right here as effectively – it’s higher for assured swimmers and older youngsters quite than toddlers.

Watersports in Bude

Older youngsters will love the prospect to strive browsing, bodyboarding and get up paddle boarding on the north Cornwall coast – Freewave Surf Academy specialises in classes for households and teams, so it’s excellent for novices as effectively.

For extra journey, you possibly can strive coasteering as effectively, swimming via sea caves, visiting hidden seashores and getting your coronary heart racing with a couple of leaps into the water – good if you happen to’re visiting Bude with teenagers.

Bude sits proper close to the border of Cornwall and Devon, so it’s simple to nip throughout into the neighbouring county too for extra issues to do with youngsters in Devon – the Milky Means Journey Park isn’t far-off.

Path running along the north Cornwall coast with the sea to one side and green scenery ahead

Stroll the South West coast path

Wherever you might be in Cornwall, there are some lovely locations to get exterior and go strolling alongside the South West Coast path – and north Cornwall isn’t any completely different, together with a number of family-friendly walks.

Discover among the Cornwall Space of Excellent Pure Magnificence – the Hartland stretch from simply above Bude to the Cornish border is a real problem however you might do this Bude Coast and Canal choice.

The part from Widemouth Bay to Pentire Level is one other difficult one – not least as a result of it runs for 30 miles – however there are some unmissable views from Crackington Haven and the aptly named Excessive Cliff, the very best in Cornwall.

Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft and Magic

Positively one for older kids quite than giving toddlers nightmares, the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic at Boscastle has round 3,000 displays making it the world’s largest assortment of this sort, in addition to its oldest.

Excellent for a day in north Cornwall within the rain or for an uncommon day trip with youngsters – visits to the museum itself are likely to final an hour or much less.

The dramatic approach to the ruins of Tintagel castle by the coast in north Cornwall

Go to Tintagel

Finest identified for its hyperlinks to King Arthur and the placing sculpture that stands on the cliffs, the wild surroundings and ruins of Tintagel are someplace which stick within the reminiscence. I bear in mind visiting as a toddler – it’s a genuinely magical setting.

However that’s solely the beginning of what there’s to do. Go to the seaside at low tide and you may discover Merlin’s Cave – examine the tide tables earlier than you go, and as you’ll be scrambling in low mild, take a torch and don’t do this with toddlers.

Then there are centuries of historical past to find at Tintagel Fort, together with its function within the legends of King Arthur.

Teetering on the headland, the 2 halves of the positioning are joined collectively once more by a footbridge – you want a timed ticket to enter, and it’s finest to e book these prematurely, together with for English Heritage members. Some walk-up tickets could also be accessible on the day, notably within the afternoon, but it surely’s common so higher protected than sorry at peak occasions.

Tintagel Outdated Put up Workplace is one other nice cease – initially a farmhouse, courting again over 600 years, the medieval constructing was later transformed into the village’s letter-receiving workplace, with a historical past path to discover and conventional crafts to strive.

The Vale of Avalon, Slaughterbridge

Not removed from the medieval city of Camelford – thought by some to be the positioning of Camelot – there’s extra for King Arthur followers on the Vale of Avalon in Slaughterbridge (previously the Arthurian Centre), round 10 minutes drive from Tintagel.

The 20 acre web site surrounds King Arthur’s Stone, and the fields are the legendary spot the place King Arthur and Mordred met for his or her final battle. You may uncover extra concerning the historical past and tales, in addition to trying out the youngsters’s quiz, attempting brass rubbing and there’s even a play citadel.

And for a newer historic discovery, an 18th century backyard rediscovered in 2005 is presently being restored – Woman Falmouth’s Secret Backyard was uncovered throughout archaeological work and is steadily being introduced again to life.

The picturesque village of Port Isaac in north Cornwall, filming location for Doc Martin and home to one of the narrowest streets in the UK

Trevathan Farm, Port Isaac

Port Isaac itself is finest often called the setting for TV sequence Doc Martin – however until you’ve got any small followers, youthful youngsters are more likely to be extra tempted by close by Trevathan Farm.

There’s berry selecting in the summertime and pumpkin carving at Halloween, plus youngsters can burn off their vitality on the journey playground on this working farm.

Do take a wander round Port Isaac itself although – I like Treasure Trails for enjoyable methods to discover with youngsters, and this Treasure Hunt model is ideal for exploring the twisty streets of a fishing village with smuggling historical past.

The Golden Lion pub even has an outdated smuggling tunnel which leads down onto the seaside – one of many quirkiest issues to identify in North Cornwall for households.

Take a look at Squeezy Stomach alley too, one of many narrowest passageways in Britain – possibly earlier than you try the Port Isaac fudge store and pasties!

Go coasteering at Polzeath

It’s not simply Bude which is a hotspot for coasteering – Polzeath, simply down the coast from Port Isaac, is one other great spot to discover the shoreline, swimming, scrambling and leaping alongside the way in which.

You may even spot seals and dolphins within the space, and there’s extra probability to strive browsing right here too.

There are a number of organisations which provide coasteering in Polzeath for youths: strive Cornish Coasteering for ages 8+ or Period Adventures runs taster classes for novices, with a beneficial age of 10+.

Uncover mermaid legends close to Rock

For a quite gentler various, head to the Camel Estuary and the seaside at Daymer Bay with its unspoiled dunes.

Related to Rock at low tide, you possibly can sit on the sand and inform the story of Doom Bar, the sand bar supposedly created by a mermaid in revenge and the reason for many shipwrecks.

The golden sands of Daymer Bay on the Camel Estuary, not far from Rock in north Cornwall

Cycle the Camel path

One other favorite from my very own childhood holidays, the beautiful Camel path cycle monitor was created from a disused railway line.

The entire stretch is round 18 miles lengthy – for a shorter style, if you happen to’re visiting north Cornwall with toddlers, there’s a five-mile part from Wadebridge to Padstow. Or you can too cowl the 12-mile stretch to Bodmin.

You’ll discover automobile parking alongside the route in addition to locations to rent bikes if you happen to don’t have your individual, together with youngsters’ bikes, to not point out award-winning native vineyards.

Stroll the Sir John Betjeman stroll

This beautiful stretch of the South West coast path runs alongside the River Camel, passing the golden dunes of the seashores and resulting in tiny St Enodoc Church the place the poet laureate is buried.

One of many best walks alongside the coast path in north Cornwall, it’s a stunning place to amble within the solar.

Go to the Nationwide Lobster Hatchery

One of many quirkier issues to do in north Cornwall with youngsters, the Nationwide Lobster Hatchery is a charity with a give attention to conservation, analysis and training. However from a toddler’s viewpoint, it’s a spot to see child lobsters!

Set on South Quay in Padstow, you possibly can see lobsters on the completely different levels of their life in addition to different marine life, and you may even undertake one and monitor its progress by way of the web site. Prime tip: select a much less widespread title than ‘pinchy’ if you happen to do – there are 630 on the final depend!

There are extra lovely seashores and picturesque streets to wander – Padstow does get very busy in summer season although – plus the ferry throughout to Rock right here for an opportunity to tick off two locations to go in north Cornwall in in the future.

Boats in the harbour of fishing village Padstow in north Cornwall, home to the National Lobster Hatchery

Camel Creek Journey Park

Round quarter-hour south of Padstow, Camel Creek Journey Park is about on the positioning of the previous Crealy’s Journey Park. Reopened in 2018, there’s a little bit of every thing too – indoor and out of doors play, animals, a 5D theatre, varied rides…

With light rides for little ones, together with a carousel, plus extra adventurous rollercoasters for barely greater thrill-seekers, it’s superb if you happen to’ve received kids of various ages.

You may meet meerkats and Shire Horses, plus indoor smooth play and out of doors journey play so it’s one other nice choice for a wet day in north Cornwall with youngsters.

Open year-round, there are particular themed seasonal occasions too if you happen to’re visiting round Halloween or Christmas. Prebooking tickets is beneficial.

Outdated Macdonalds Farm

Just a little additional down the coast, between Padstow and Newquay, Outdated Macdonalds Farm is a stunning day trip with youthful youngsters – in addition to seeing the livestock, there are many alternatives to play, and you may keep on web site or flip up for a day go to.

With particular animal expertise in addition to a typical go to (might have to be prebooked, additional payment applies), there are additionally particular occasions throughout the yr. Time your go to proper and you may assist bottle feed lambs and calves.

Bedruthan Steps

The granite rocks on the seaside at Bedruthan Steps had been as soon as the stepping stones for the large Bedruthan in line with legend – really extra possible made up by Victorians, however why spoil an excellent story?

Both method, the rock stacks are a dramatic sight, consistently altering because the waves put on away the softer rock (don’t take into consideration paddling!)

There’s (presently no entry to the seaside due to rock falls (though the slim steps lead down had been by no means superb if you happen to’re visiting north Cornwall with toddlers) however the views are spectacular.

There’s a Nationwide Belief automobile park and café on the high too, and a few pretty walks, plus occasional additional actions like treasure hunts to strive.

View of the beach and rocks at Bedruthan Steps in north Cornwall

Newquay seashores

My daughter’s first go to to Cornwall took us to Newquay and there are good the reason why it’s so common with households.

For starters, there are seashores galore – from browsing at well-known Fistral seaside to the summer season donkey derby at Mawgan Porth and the dunes of Crantock.

To not point out a complete string of different well-known coves: Tolcarne Seashore, Watergate Bay, Lusty Glaze Seashore, Perranporth Seashore, Towan seaside within the city itself with loads of golden sand and nice surf waves.

If you happen to’re searching for dog-friendly seashores in Newquay, try these choices.

Newquay Zoo

This award-winning zoo is house to tons of of the world’s rarest and most fun creatures, from creepy crawlies to huge cats, in addition to exercise trails and a kids’s play space.

You possibly can see armadillos to zebra, in addition to discovering the gardens – together with the beautiful Secret Backyard – earlier than being transported to the tropics and the south-east Asian jungle as you discover the completely different habitats.

It’s sufficiently small to not be too overwhelming if you happen to’re visiting north Cornwall with a toddler, though at 13 acres, there’s nonetheless loads to maintain everybody entertained on a day trip.

Blue Reef aquarium, Newquay

This pretty aquarium is correct on the seafront in Newquay – you possibly can sit back on Towan seaside then head indoors to find what lives beneath the waves.

Sharks, turtles and a large Pacific octopus are a couple of of the creatures you’ll discover in 40 completely different habitats, with talks and feeding at this pretty beachfront aquarium – one in every of my favorite issues to do in Newquay.

You may wander via the ocean tunnel, recognizing loggerhead turtles and reef sharks, in addition to seeing among the different uncommon inhabitants, together with pufferfish.

Set proper on the seafront, it’s excellent if you wish to workforce the seaside with the prospect to see beneath the waves – or if you end up searching for one thing to do on a wet day in Cornwall.

Take a look at my assessment of a day trip at Blue Reef aquarium in Newquay with a toddler

Brightly coloured blue reef fish among the coral at the Blue Reef Aquarium Newquay in Cornwall - my review of our day at the Newquay Aquarium

Pirate’s Quest Journey Golf, Newquay

Journey again 300 years to the Golden Age of piracy, within the house of smugglers and buccaneers (and mermaids) with a household pleasant journey golf course with a twist.

At Pirate’s Quest Journey Golf you’ll discover 12 holes winding via the streets of 18th century Cornwall, in addition to an opportunity to discover caves, uncover native legends, seek for a mermaid and pose within the shares (in addition to attempting for a yo ho gap in a single!)

The swashbuckling course is indoors too, in case you’re searching for issues to do in Newquay within the rain.

Whereas the earlier interactive tour isn’t working any extra, youngsters nonetheless get treasure maps to seek for pirate booty, plus an opportunity to be taught extra about Cornwall’s myths and legends.

Trerice Home, close to Newquay

Just a bit method inland from Newquay, this Nationwide Belief property contains the prospect to decorate up in Tudor costumes in addition to strive some conventional video games within the nice chamber of Trerice Home.

You may also uncover extra concerning the household which lived within the sixteenth century manor over time. If it’s a sunny day, wander the gardens and check out a couple of video games on the bowling inexperienced, or it’s one other nice choice for a wet day close to Newquay.

Lappa Valley Steam railway, close to Newquay

Not removed from Trerice Home and Newquay, Lappa Valley Steam railway is a good attraction for youthful youngsters – there’s extra than simply for toddlers and pre-schoolers, however they’ll love the trains which run on the small railway.

Inside, there are nature trails and kids’s rides, a toddler path maze plus indoor play carriages and a woodland railway. Or you possibly can actually have a go at loopy golf when you’re visiting so it’s a enjoyable day trip in Cornwall for the entire household.

The hurlers stone circle on Bodmin Moor in north Cornwall - one of the many things to discover in the wildest part of north Cornwall with kids

Bodmin Moor

The wildest a part of Cornwall, Bodmin Moor is a captivating place to roam, with Bronze Age and Neolithic cairns and stone circles and its personal retailer of ghost tales and legends.

For a much less spooky choice, you possibly can go geocaching on the moor in addition to following a part of the Copper Path, a 60-mile strolling route.

Or one other favorite if you happen to don’t fancy venturing too far off the overwhelmed monitor is to move to the Golitha Falls Pure Reserve. Footpaths, together with one buggy-friendly path, lead via the valley alongside the riverside.

Older youngsters will love clambering over tree trunks and hopping from stepping stone to stepping stone on the way in which to the falls. Apparently it’s house to piskies too.

There’s free parking, so it’s an important choice for an inexpensive day trip in north Cornwall.

Cardinham Woods

Not removed from Bodmin Moor, the woods are Cornwall’s place to seek out the Forestry Fee’s household trails together with these impressed by Julia Donaldson’s books, such because the Gruffalo twenty fifth anniversary exercise path.

However everytime you go to, there are 4 completely different strolling trails to discover – one in every of which is buggy pleasant – plus three cycle trails, a play space and café.

The one cost is for parking (until you’re a discovery go holder) and any particular path actions so it’s one other enjoyable choice for reasonable issues to see in north Cornwall.

Bodmin Jail

Seemingly probably the most haunted locations in Britain, Bodmin jail reopened a couple of years in the past with a model new immersive customer expertise together with a ‘Darkish Stroll’ and overhaul of the present attraction.

Telling the historical past of the 18th century jail over six ranges, with sights, sounds and smells of life within the 18th century, you possibly can step into the chilly cells, to think about a sentence of laborious labour forward. Much less gruesomely, the jail has additionally stored the Domesday Ebook and Crown Jewels protected.

Harsh punishments and an execution pit imply this isn’t one for youthful youngsters (though you possibly can keep away from one or two of the scarier sections) but it surely’s probably the most memorable north Cornwall days out with youngsters.

Higher for older youngsters, who love their wet days spiced up with a bit shiver of fright than for youthful kids (it’s not buggy-friendly both).

Bodmin and Wenford Railway

Cornwall’s solely full-size railway nonetheless operated by steam locomotives, it’s an ideal choice for train-obsessed little ones (and a few greater ones).

Chuffing alongside the 13-mile spherical journey route of the Bodmin and Wenford Railway makes for a really enjoyable technique to discover the countryside too.

There are additionally particular themed occasions throughout faculty holidays, equivalent to Halloween and Santa trains – and the prospect to have a correct Cornish cream tea.

Lanhydrock National Trust property - one of my top places to visit in north Cornwall with kids


Not removed from Bodmin itself, the Nationwide Belief property of Lanhydrock is designed to allow you to discover Victorian life, wandering via the home from the servants’ quarters and kitchens to the household’s extra luxurious rooms.

Youngsters have trails to comply with inside the home, and you may actually have a peek into the nurseries alongside the way in which to check to their very own bedrooms.

Outdoor there are bike trails to discover together with a simple inexperienced path that’s appropriate for youthful youngsters and bikes with tagalongs in addition to trickier routes for older youngsters, plus the same old expansive grounds to roam round and an journey playground.

Carnglaze Caverns

The three underground caves making up Carnglaze Caverns are on the south fringe of Bodmin Moor, a former slate mine which is now a mining heritage attraction.

Your self-guided go to (though there are some guided excursions in excessive season) explains extra concerning the miner’s work and why offering slate was so necessary, earlier than ending on the spectacular underground lake.

The caves at the moment are house to 5 species of bats, whereas exterior you possibly can hunt for faeries and dragons on the Woodland Stroll and within the Enchanted Dell on the hillside.

There’s a kids’s path that will help you spot among the fairy inhabitants, whereas the stroll takes round 25 minutes – in late spring it’s excellent to see bluebells, and you may additionally be fortunate sufficient to identify deer or a fox.

The Eden Mission

The award-winning attraction is immediately recognisable – the labored out china clay pit has been remodeled with two well-known biomes, one concealing the Mediterranean, the opposite the warmth of the rainforest.

Take a look at my assessment of our day on the Eden Mission with a three-year-old.

This astonishing international backyard, tucked inside futuristic domed biomes, is house to the world’s largest indoor rainforest in addition to interactive displays, a sensory backyard and vegetation from across the globe.

There are storytelling classes for youths and different actions, exhibitions, and even smooth play. If the climate’s good, there are paths to wander open air too and lots to do on the Eden Mission within the rain if not.

For extra concepts of issues to do in Cornwall, try my high picks and my final information to Cornwall with youngsters

*First revealed 2020, final up to date 2024*


The best things to do in north Cornwall with kids - ideas for how to spend a family holiday in north Cornwall, UK, from the best beaches and walking to family attractions and other days out along the coast from Bude to Tintagel, Padstow and Newquay, as well as Bodmin, the Camel Estuary, the Eden Project and more.

Disclosure: Comprises affiliate hyperlinks: any purchases you make are unaffected however I could obtain a small fee. All opinions and urged names for lobsters are my very own.

Blue Reef picture copyright MummyTravels, all others courtesy Depositphotos


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